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Mike Tomlin says Steelers’ early 3-and-outs ‘didn’t determine the outcome of the game’

They certainly didn’t help, though.

Head Coach Doug Pederson of the Jacksonville Jaguars talks with Head Coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers after the game at Acrisure Stadium on October 29, 2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers fell to 4-3 in with a Week 8 home loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, with injuries to quarterback Kenny Pickett and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick only adding insult to injury. Head Coach Mike Tomlin addressed the media following the game, discussing the team’s struggles with offensive execution early on in football games — a common theme in the 2023 season.

In his post-game presser, Tomlin was asked to comment on the team’s struggles going three-and-out in the first half, including four such plays back-to-back before finally securing their first first down of the game with 9:38 left in the second quarter. He’d given several examples of those early struggles, “We missed a big play down the middle early. We missed another corner route early. We’ve just got to execute better at the early portions of football games, obviously.”

But how about them three and outs? “The early portions of the game don’t decide the outcome. It doesn’t. It usually doesn’t; it didn’t today. Obviously, you want more fluid starts, but it didn’t determine the outcome of the game,” Tomlin said. “I think the critical things were the things that transpired in the second half — the long score, the turnover — the things you can’t do as you’re leaning in on the last portion of a football game.”

Of course, it’s worth noting that those second-half mistakes, down two key starters, may not have been as devastating if they hadn’t gone three-and-out on four consecutive drives to start the game. It marked yet another outing where “Fire Canada” chants echoed throughout Acrisure Stadium, as the Steelers scored their first points of the day just under four minutes out from halftime.

Now, it’s on to Week 9, where the Steelers are set to host the Tennessee Titans on Thursday Night Football.